My wife woke me up Sunday morning with the news.
"Did you hear about Kidd Kraddick?"
Whenever someone starts of with the phrase "Did you hear about…" it’s never good. My heart sank before she even got out the rest of the news. Saturday morning, while working a charity golf tournament in New Orleans on behalf of his charity Kidd’s Kids (a nonprofit he started to provide trips to Disney World for terminally ill children) Kraddick became ill and eventually died at a New Orleans hospital. The cause, as announced Monday by a Jefferson County, La., deputy coroner, was cardiac disease.
The coroner, Dr. Granville Morse, said preliminarily that Kraddick died of an enlarged heart, a fitting pronouncement (if ever there is one) in the death of someone who gave back to the community and filled the North Texas airwaves with plenty of good cheer and spirit for the better part of four decades.
It says a lot about the man that people from all walks of life and business — from local radio legend Ron Chapman to Dallas Maverick Dirk Nowitzki — are singing his praises today.
While I hadn’t listened to Kidd in years — my musical tastes having migrated to satellite radio and away from Top 40 — he was part of my formative years. If you were in high school in the 80s you knew and listened to Kraddick at some point, even if you were a "roper." His phrase "Keep looking up ‘cause that’s where it all is," was all over my senior yearbook’s autograph section.
The beauty of Kraddick, however, was his ability to hang on to an audience. Those same 80s kids are now soccer moms and hockey dads and many of them still listened to Kraddick. I actually watched Kraddick on television this past year in a syndicated show called Dish Nation. He was as entertaining as I remember him being on the stereo in my 1971 Chevy pickup I tooled around in high school. You can’t say that about too many radio hosts (where have you gone Russ Martin?)
It sounds cliche`, but I feel like I lost a member of the family, that long-lost cousin that you used to go swimming with in the summer; I hadn’t heard from him in awhile but I sure felt like I knew him. Imagine my shock, too, when I read that his daughter Caroline is an adult — the last I heard she was starting school!
With the passing of Kidd so, too, goes a good part of my youth. He was only 10 years older than me and that rings heavy. But more than that, he was the voice that stayed with me through my teen years, driving, dating, wondering what I was going to do with my life once I went to college.
Like most everyone else who knew him, I still feel a bit of shock but overall a whole bunch of sadness. They say the good die young and this certainly lends merit to that argument.
Rest in peace, Kidd. We’ll all be looking up…